Teen admits part in attack on tourists

07:01, Jan 17 2014

One of the teenagers accused of attacking two German tourists in Whakatane on Boxing Day has admitted his part in the robbery and been named, the Whakatane Beacon newspaper reported.

In the Whakatane Youth Court today, Judge Louis Bidois lifted the interim suppression order preventing the publication of Mark Wikotu's name.

He also allowed photographs to be taken of the defendant, who immediately bowed his head and kept it down for the rest of the proceedings.

Four teenagers from Opotiki and one from Whakatane were charged after the early-morning attack on a young German couple camping near the Whakatane skate park.

They are jointly charged with aggravated robbery and unlawfully getting into a motor vehicle.

Wikotu, 18, of Opotiki, pleaded guilty to both charges and was remanded in custody for sentence on May 7.

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Judge Bidois rejected an application for continued name suppression by Wikotu's lawyer, Roger Gowing.

The names of the four co-offenders, aged between 14 and 17, remain suppressed.

A girl aged 15 and two boys, 14 and 15, all from Opotiki, are expected to plead to the charges when they next appear in court on February 7.

The fifth person, a 17-year-old from Whakatane, claims not to have been involved in the attack and has pleaded not guilty.

Judge Bidois granted him continued name suppression.

He said public condemnation of the attack was so strong that this defendant would be "tarnished" by the allegation that he was involved.

Fairfax Media